There were once two sisters. They were of a royal family and inseparable; always hand in hand no matter where they went even though they were six years apart in age. The eldest, who was ten at the time, was taken from the house leaving the younger all alone.
The little girl did not know what to do without her sister. She wept, even though she did not know why. It was as if her soul knew but her fragile mind did not. Something was very wrong; but soon the girl stopped weeping, and then she stopped remembering. That is when the nightmares began…
Adriana lay sprawled out over the floor of the study in her manor. A small book placed in front of her, though she was far too distracted to pay it any mind. Her honey colored eyes were ensnared by the fluffy flakes of snow that lethargically drifted to the ground and grew to become hills. She’d gone through three lonely years of this, four fun filled years before that.
Her mind was a fog to those years, before her fifth birthday. She only remembered being significantly depressed that day, but she could not remember why. Something dark and discontented wandered in the corners of her mind, and in its prominence it showed through her eyes. The eyes of a ghost, wandering an area where it was no longer welcomed. It was empty and spine tingling at best; it searched for something which no longer existed.
Adriana sat onto her knees and stood with a pop or two of her bones; she’d been lying there nearly all day. The thick scent of duck swirled up the stairs and around the house like a dancer, strong and persistent. Her stomach rumbled with its mouthwatering promises. They always had cooked duck this time of year.
The dainty girl took the stairs two at a time and landed the floor with a small thud. Her thick socks kept her warm on the cool stone that swore torment to bare feet. She offered one of her small sweet smiles to Equia, her housekeeper. The lanky dark skinned woman grinned in return and set a plate in front of Riana.
It was quiet during dinner as always, Equia did not eat at the table, but with the others. This left the girl alone, staring at all the empty seats; one in particular, right next to her which held a radiant sorrow to it. She propped an elbow to the table and rested her cheek in the warmth of her palm, trying to break the ice that held the secrets of the dark fuzziness in her head.
She made a trivial sigh and picked at her food, she rarely had the desire to eat nowadays. She slipped from her chair and made her way outside, letting the air breathe upon her, sweeping a manifest shiver along her skin, it ran all over her until it stopped at the red tip of her nose. She took in a breath and relished in the cooling of her lungs and body; it forced a trail of mucus to freeze until she was agitated enough to wipe it away with her wool sleeve. The cold did that, preserved things. So why do I have a part of me that is missing? The girl pondered silently in her own shadow that stretched out into the awaiting night like a monster urging her forward into danger.
Adriana stepped away from the safety of the torch that hung next to the door. Part of her knew she stepped away from the comforts of life; comforts that were not truly comforts to her any more. She drifted on passed the gates like a ghost; the only thing she wore for warmth now was a small handmade wool blanket that clung to her bony shoulders like a small chimp.
The night dragged on with howls of disapproval from the wind. The only mother she’d ever known. It whipped along her cheeks in scolding slaps and continued to scream at her, whirling around her body and lifting the blanket in intimidation. Soon it was gone too, leaving only the uncanny silence of the small town around her. All the doors were shut; some of the lights were on. No doubt they all ate dinner together, not the luxury of flickering candles but the luxury of skin to skin, elbows to elbows as they laughed and nudged one and other.
Her clothed foot caught onto an abandoned piece of paper that held a captivating picture of the dance that had been held for the season, colored in reds and oranges. The warm colors. She wanted to fold it up and hide it in her pocket, but she did not. Adriana instead left it to float from her hand onto the shimmering snow. She walked over it and started off again, going through a dark alley way, sneaking glimpses of families having dinner through the windows. She sat under one window and listened to the animated voices of the parents and their three kids; it was her lullaby of the night
The girl did not know how long she sat there, her butt was wet and cold from the snow, her face burned with numbness, and the lights above her went out. Silence again flounced over the land like an antagonist, leaving her shivering and hiccupping in its wake.
Morning peeled away at a portion of the cold. The sun beamed down over the hills of snow and the shimmer of the town grew more intense. Children’s laughing and the sound of scuffing shoes against the ice woke her up. A shadow loomed over her, she could feel and hear the leer even before she saw it.
The boy she saw was tall fixed with muscle and a mean look on his face. Dirty blond hair hung over the top of his eyes. His hands were on his hips, already balled into fists. “If ya don’t mind me askin’” He started a sneer to his words and a laugh in his eyes as he threw a glance to each boy flanking him. “What do you think you’re doing in our town? Aren’t you that royal girl from up the way.” He jutted his chin, which was sporting some stubble. He and his friends looked to be near men, at the age of twelve. In another twelve years he’d have been given a bride, who was usually at her prime of sixteen. But this boy, she could tell, was no royal man.
Adriana was about to pull herself up when his hand came down rough on her shoulder, forcing her to sit again. His face was a breath from hers, the sneer having grown. “Hey! I asked you a question, little girl!”
His eyes were a nice Irish green; if only they weren’t filled with so much aggression she could have called him handsome. Adriana felt her tongue twist and touch the roof of her mouth. She didn’t know what to say, her heart thumped wildly and her throat constricted in on itself. “I-I...”
The boy growled petulantly and gave Adriana another rough shove, which scraped her back to the wall. She sniveled, which only earned another rough jerk. The girls shoulder throbbed with his aggression and for all of a minute her mind went blank and she knew she resembled a deer in knife throw. Her vision blurred over, and warmth trailed down her cheeks. It started off as a soft sniffle, and then became a deep throated wailing.
The boy stood and looked from his left to his right, eyes wide as a man whose life was about to be taken from him. “H-Hey, stop that!” He commanded, and when she didn’t his breath picked up dreadfully when people’s curiosity arose. “Go go go!” He called and the three boys tore down the dirt ally way, leaving Adriana there alone once more. Adriana’s tears did not stop the whole way back, even as Equia disciplined her for running off without telling them.
Her body was limp with drowsiness, the good kind. The ones that helped you sleep like a baby and gave you no spooky dreams. But dreams do not always have to be terrifying to be scary…
Thousands of pixies danced about, arms in arms as they sang. Adriana could not hear them, but somehow in her dream she knew what they were saying. Adriana danced with them, smiling and going round and round. In this place she was free. In this place she was happy. In this place nothing was missing.
An arm found hers and linked, it was another girl; a pretty one with nearly the same eyes and dark hair as her own. She had to be ten, Adriana though as they circled one and other, both in pixie outfits of different color. Adriana wore a sleek black and the other girl wore a purified white. Soon this dream changed.
The girl fell over, holding her stomach. The pixie people’s eyes turned a luminous red and their outfits a tar black that clung to their body in unrefined ways. They loomed over the other girl, their thin lips held gruesome grins, display small sharp teeth meant for tearing chunks of skin. Knives so sharp a look wounded were grasped in their hands; which had turned hairy with long black as night claws.
They hooted and Adriana screamed, holding her hands to her mouth in an effort to detour what she saw.
The other girl looked at her, tears of sticky blood trailed from her eyes to her jaw and dripped to the distant dirt below. Adriana had a spark of realization at meeting the girl’s eyes. “Never forget me, okay?” The other girl rasped out as knives was brought down upon her pale skin, tinting it red.
Wind whipped around Adriana, forming a small tornado as a bolt of light shot through the girl, then another and another until there was nothing and Adriana was in a dark forest. She was alone…. So alone. Small whispers came all around her.
“Remember me…. I’ll always love you.”
“I missed her so much…”
“You can save me… but first you must save yourself!”
The last was a howl. Memories flooded Adriana, bringing her to her knees as her own tears formed. “How can I forget…?” She whispered in this world that soon filled with all her fears; all around her that swept by like ghosts, opening their inhuman mouths to take from her melancholy, from her soul.
“You have forgotten me!” Snarled a voice all too similar to a demon “And so you have failed me!”
“No!” She cried, searching for the creature… for Alayne?
“You have forgotten me, so I shall no longer stay here with you! Allow demons to take your soul! You are not my sister.”
Adriana knew Alayne could never say those words to her, but part of her caved in. She fell so her nose was to the earth in defeat. “Please!” She bellowed. “Please don’t leave me! I need you!”
“I NEED YOU!”
Adriana would have taken her in a nightmare… she’d have taken her sisters image and kept it somewhere in her pocket like a ball of light waiting to be freed into the world. Neither tears nor reading horror books brought the image back to her.
It was always ghosts with their hands to their cheeks and their mouths impossibly stretched to pass their chin that bellowed at Adriana under the starry nights.
Years passed and the young girl got no word from her sister. Not even in her dreams.